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Southside Flying Pizza - AUS - review

We loved the place.

Everything about the pizza was superior: crust, sauce to cheese ratio, and toppings. The crust was crunchy and chewy at the same time, and perfectly cooked. The tomato sauce had just the right bite.

What we especially liked were the toppings. We had a sausage/pepper/mushroom ($14.50 for the large) and an artichoke/sundried tomato ($13.00). The toppings were generously applied and first rate. We especially liked the flavor of the sausage. They don't skimp on the toppings, and they recommended that I not get more that five toppings per pizza.

The service was very friendly, and there is a small dining room, very casual and not fancy. They serve alcohol and have a nice selection of beers.

The newspaper had an article about them. It said that the chefs have decades of experience at local restaurants (I forget which).

This is the first pizza place I have really liked in Austin. Now if I could only find a decent chile relleno.

Southside Flying Pizza is at 2206 South Congress. Their phone # is 442-4246. Cranky Yankee: I'll be looking forward to your review of the place.

Now I need to get to Flip Happy the one night they are open. And has anyone been to the new Taco Xpress, and care to comment?

Also: if you haven't been to Nu Age, on Exposition, take my word for it: it is terrific. Even if you are a carnivore. Greg Spence, are you listening? This is a place I'd like to hear your review of. (Hint: get the Thai Beancurd Wraps)

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  1. Thanks for the report. I'll have to check out the new pizza place.

    > And has anyone been to the new Taco Xpress, and care to comment?

    The food seemed unchanged from the old Taco XPress. There is more indoor seating now, though.

    > Also: if you haven't been to Nu Age, on Exposition, take my word for
    > it: it is terrific.

    I was unimpressed with this place. The Asian dishes are done better elsewhere in town and the Italian ones were pretty bad.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Brian Lindauer

      We loved it when it opened...the last TWP pizzas we got took 90 mins, were stone cold and gross. The Pizza Patron $5 one down the street is far better at this point. they need to get it together or shut down, at the VERY least appologize for the horrible product. The door flyer they put on my house today just plain pissed me off. We are both bartenders, tip well and are bowled over by the lack of response when we even sent them a letter........Use the space for a shoe store again.

      1. re: jen66

        What's TWP pizza?

        1. re: stephanieh

          i think it was supposed to be "TWO" =)

          1. re: NirvRush

            Doh! That would just make too much sense, wouldn't it? I was trying too hard to figure it out. The best I'd come up with was "The Whole Pie", but then it didn't make sense in context. Thanks! I can rest my brain now. ;-)

    2. I checked out Southside Flying Pizza recently. I appreciate the suggestions from other ‘hounds to try it, since I’m constantly looking for a good pie. To me, however, this was not it.

      This had a great deal to do with my expectations. This is not Neapolitan-style pizza, as billed by the owners and repeated in the press. [Note to restaurant “critics”: D.O.C. Neapolitan-style pizza dough contains just water, salt, flour (usually 00 pizza flour), and yeast.] Unlike Neapolitan pizza, Southside’s thick, doughy crust had no air bubbles, wasn’t light and springy, and had no flavor (not even salt). The pie also certainly wasn’t charred to perfection in a matter of minutes in a super-hot coal- or wood-burning oven, either. I assume Southside is using the term Neapolitan to distinguish their chewy, “hand-tossed” dough from New-York-style, which is thinner and more crisp. A more apt comparison would be to Shakey's Pizza, Domino’s original crust, or even Papa John’s. If you compare Southside’s pizza crust to that of these generic U.S. chains, then it seems like a decent example of the form in terms of texture, but not flavor. Personally, I don’t like this type of crust.

      Since they bill this place as Neapolitan-style, I had to try their “margherita” pizza. It’s a travesty to call their pizza by this name, even though I put it in quotation marks. A true margherita should have chunks of fresh mozzarella, along with sparingly applied tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, a touch of garlic, and a few fresh basil leaves, all on a crisp but chewy crust that's been topped with salt and olive oil. Like other places in town (Salvation, Brick Oven), Southside gave me instead a white pizza, this time with no fresh basil—baked or otherwise, but tons of cheese and plenty of raw garlic, some low-quality olive oil, and wet, tasteless, rounds of grocery-store plum tomatoes on top. The cheese used at Southside is supposed to be “imported mozzarella” and Romano, but this was not fresh mozzarella.

      Our group also ordered two regular pizzas, one topped with artichoke hearts and the other with their “signature housemade Italian sausage.” The artichoke hearts were good enough to eat on their own. They didn’t taste like the bad marinated versions that come in a jar. Thanks to travisleroy for suggesting them. The sausage, on the other hand, was incredibly disappointing. It was of the crumbled, greasy, cheap variety, and had no other discernible seasonings besides the meat. This didn’t taste like any Italian sausage I’ve had on the East Coast, let alone Italy. Instead, to me, it tasted like a very mild breakfast sausage by Jimmy Dean, or perhaps the custom-made toppings at Mr. Gatti’s, made to their specifications by the fine folks at. . . Hormel.

      The tomato sauce also appeared to be housemade, with visible chunks of crushed tomatoes, but it was mild to the point of sweetness. A bland sauce on a bland crust, along with poor-quality custom ingredients that taste no better than mass-produced ones, make for a mediocre pie.

      Further evidence of Southside’s true inspiration can be found in the housemade garlic bread. It’s a warmed up treat of margarine-drenched, garlicky grocery-store “Italian” bread, also known as ethnic Wonder Bread, heavily sprinkled with inexpensive dried oregano. You can find the same thing at a variety of red-sauce chain restaurants or in the Pepperidge Farms section of the grocery-store freezer.

      Southside’s pizza is better than chain pizza. If I wanted an inoffensive American-style pizza delivered to my house, and I lived in the delivery area, I might order one from them. Of the three pizzas I sampled, the “margherita” had the most flavor. It’s not really a margherita—It’s just an extra-cheese American-style pizza with a lot of garlic. The other pizzas were tasteless in comparison, however. With pizza, and some varieties of Tex-Mex, a ton of cheese often masks other defects.

      I’ve now tried Saccone’s, Brick Oven on 35th, Home Slice, Salvation, and Southside. My search for truly amazing pizza in Austin continues.

      5 Replies
      1. re: MPH

        Man alive, this made me laugh! Yeah, I don't think "truly amazing pizza" exists here. Thrown in the towel. Saccone's is what I use to get myself through my pizzeria pizza jones....not truly amazing, but way more delicious than the alternatives (to me). I wonder if transplanted Texas 'hounds search SF, NY, Boston or Seattle for breakfast tacos and brisket? MPH, your dedication to the pursuit of excellence is an inspiration.

        1. re: saticoy

          I know this transplanted Texan did, when I was living on the East Coast! ;-)

          You should have heard me complain about the brisket. And breakfast tacos? Forget it. I remember spending years searching for a good CFS, too. I finally found one, in New Hampshire of all places. But I can’t remember the name of the diner.

          Thanks, tom in austin, for reminding me about the prosciutto pizza at Vespaio. Though it’s a very different kind of pie, it’s easily the best I’ve had in town.

          Best,
          MPH

        2. re: MPH

          I recently came to the conclusion that there are really 2 kinds of pizza in my life:

          1) really outstanding ones (could be Neapolitan, NY-style, East Coast Greek style, New Haven, etc), or

          2) pizza that's merely there to address the craving.

          Southside falls in the 2nd category. But I must say, for that particular purpose, it's a very good pizza, and I'm happy that I don't have to resort to the other generic chain ones.** I quickly realized from the look of other pizzas coming out of their oven that this was not going to be a true Neapolitan pie, and I then adjusted my expectations accordingly. I don't feel as strongly as you do about the crust, MPH, as I distinctly remember it actually having flavour (to my tastes). This is part of what sets it apart from the chains. Their toppings I find, while not the best, are also better than the token Dominos.

          I've only tried a few other places in town (Home Slice, Pizza Patron, a couple of others), and I've found this one to be the best of the bunch. That's not saying much I guess, but again, for me there doesn't seem to be much in between the really great pies and all the rest.

          **I may lose any credibility I had with folks here, but the one exception I make for the chain pizzas, about once every few years, is Pizza Hut. Maybe it's nostalgia, but it might also have something to do with a deep-fried pizza just tasting good. In a very dirty way.

          1. re: MPH

            MPH, you hipped me to the delicious and reliable pizza at Enoteca. Don't forget your own discovery. The prosciutto, with arugula and runny egg, is a dream come true.

            1. re: MPH

              55 MPH, you have kindly saved me a trip south, as I've been looking for an authentic, sans-quotation-marks, Neapolitan pizza since I moved here from Seattle in 2005 and had heard rumblings that Southside may be the place. The Neapolitan government now officially sanctions restaurants outside of Italy to serve their authentic pizza (possible explanation for Southside's quotation marks). These restaurants must meet a set of stringent criteria. Tutta Bella in Seattle was one of the first sanctioned in the US and their Margherita takes you right back to Italy. I remember the first time I ate pizza in Italy and sat next to an attractive thin woman and some children, each of whom ate their own entire pie. It was a revalation that pizza could be light, fresh and subtle and not leave one with that heavy feeling afterward. If anyone discovers such a pie in Austin, please let us know!

            2. I really like Southside Flying Pizza. We've been there several times, and we consistently get a good pie. Granted, I rarely order anything more ambitious than a cheese or a mushroom and black olive pizza but I think they make a darned good pie here in Austin.

              I agree that Austin seriously lacks a stellar pizza place, but this one probably is the best we've been to in the city, and I've tried just about every place around here at one point or another.

              Oddly enough, my two favorite pizzas here in the city are Southside and the freshly made take home cheese pizza at Whole Foods downtown (not the frozen ones--ugh,but the ones in the prepared food area). I bring it home and crank up the oven as hot as I can get it, and consistently, its a decent pie. Far, far better than many at other restaurants and definitely better than anything frozen. I stick with the cheese and I want other toppings, I doctor it myself. Pretty good basic crust that I can get super crisp with a little tweaking from the oven.

              1 Reply
              1. re: shan

                I agree that the take home Whole Foods cheese pizza is pretty good, better than Austin pizzeria pizza when heated up at home as shan suggests. The only thing better that I've found in town is the pizza at Enoteca, especially the prosciutto that others have mentioned. (I must admit that I very ocassionally get a stuffed pizza from Mangia because of intense cravings for Chicago-style pizza since I used to live near that city). I'd be welcome to others' suggestions for Chicago-style pizza that is better around these parts. A search didn't turn up any hits.

              2. I gave up on this place after the last time they delivered, it took almost two hours, and one of the owners had to bring it in his own car. The pizza had been sitting around the entire time and I got charged full price. I took one bite and had to toss the entire thing in the trash. What a waste of my time and money.....

                1. I agree with travisleroy and am confused by MPH's experience. Are you sure you were dining at Southside? I have been there 5 or 6 times and always had a good experience. I have tried several varieties of pizza and a couple different salads. The pizza was always good and had great flavor. The salads were fresh and in generous proportions. While I cannot give a full dissertation of each ingredient like MPH, I can say that I liked the crust and thought the sausage was good and most certainly above average. Each person is certainly entitled to their own opinion, but I must voice my strong disagreement with the comparisons to chain pizza places and Jimmy Dean sausage. Come on!! That was not at all my experience!!!

                  1. Even though I have been here several times, I can't really comment on the pizza. Me and my SO like to go here and split a Turkey Hoagie. Round it out with a cup of soup (the gumbo had more shrimp and sausage than most other places) or a small salad and you got yourself a darn good lunch. I think this is where Southside shines.
                    Anyone else tried the hoagies and soups?

                    1. I've been there several times and have always enjoyed my meal there. I've had good and bad pizza in this town, and this is some of the better stuff :)

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: ParticularPalate

                        i posted this review on another board and i'll share it here. i tried southside for the first time yesterday. i really like homeslice pizza and while there is better pizza in ny, to me homeslice is my favorite in austin (although i've never tried the pizza at enoteca and will now, thanks to those who mentioned it -- i've tried so many great new places and dishes thanks to this site).

                        a friend and i ordered a small pepperoni pizza and an italian hoagie to split each of them.

                        me: "can we get hot peppers on that hoagie?"
                        clerk: "bell peppers?
                        me: "no, hot peppers"
                        her: "it comes with a pepperocini on the side"
                        me: "no, can you put diced hot cherry peppers on the sandwich"
                        her: "these?" (holds up the dried peppers that you shake on pizza)
                        me: "nevermind"

                        i kind of thought hot and sweet peppers should be standard options on an italian hoagie. feel free to correct me if i'm wrong.

                        big plusses: they have fountain rc and ibc. dont see that much in austin. the pizza crust was cooked just right -- nice and crispy, whereas at homeslice i have to ask them to cook it extra long to get it right. i liked the sauce too. good hoagie bread, more like a french baguette than an italian roll, but i liked it that way. good meat and veggies. its also much cheaper than homeslice. 4 smaller sized slices of za' for $5. thats great. (although i usually eat at homeslice for free).

                        big minuses: no draft beer. no slices, pies only. but you can get a "personal" for $4. the crust on the pizza was way too salty, really it was overpowering (again, the opposite of homeslice, which doesn't use enough salt in their dough). the sandwich was dry -- no mustard, mayo, vinagrette, completely dry. was that a mistake? odd. i saw them they serve several salads to other customers. they all got served in those clear to go plastic containers. and the food comes on cheap paper plates. can't they get some plastic plates and bowls?

                        a good alternative if you're looking for a cheap, good pizza, especially for delivery, since homeslice doesn't deliver. but i dont think i go back with the slice being just up the road.

                        1. re: sbhlaw

                          Normally, you might ask for "hoagie spread" or "Tallarico's" and you'd get a response. It doesn't sound like that would have helped you in this case.

                          1. re: rudeboy

                            thanks rudeboy. do you or anyone in austin know where i could find hoagie spread or tallarico's in a grocery store? i have looked for it at central market, h.e.b., my neighborhood iga...

                            i would love to have jar for my homemade hoagies and italian sausage sandwiches.

                            1. re: sbhlaw

                              I got some at Mandola's......Cetno brand - it isn't Tallarico's (can only get that in PHI or thru very expensive mail order), but it tastes almost the same.

                              1. re: sbhlaw

                                hey sbhlaw I just ordered 2 cases of hoagie spread from tellarico's which is in bethlehem Pa cost 12 12 oz. bottles for 42.00 that includes shipping. This is a father son run business and Jim is a very pleasant man to talk to.

                        2. In a desperate attempt for pizza delivery, I finally tried Southside Friday night. Like others, I didn't find it to be outstanding, but it was much better than a chain delivery place and MUCH better than Austin's pizza (which I find to actually resemble more of bad frozen pizza than anything).

                          The crust wasn't as thin as I like normally (think, pizza on a cracker, as an ex used to tease), but it wasn't that thick, spongy crust that makes me want to hurl. I have an odd taste for topping, and got Canadian bacon and green olives. The c. bacon was good and had a nice flavor reminiscent of a black forest ham (sometimes it can taste like, well, nothing). The olives weren't super high quality or anything, but did the trick.

                          All in all, a decent choice for delivery when you can't be arsed to go pick it up from Homeslice.

                          1. I ordered Southside Flying Pizza once, and it was probably one of the worst pizzas I've had in Austin. The pizza was just barely warm when it arrived, the crust was BURNED, and the delivery guy was very rude. I even enjoy my crust crunchy and slightly charred on the bottom, but this was an obvious mistake. I had heard such good things about it I was SURE it was going to be good, but they definitely were not when they made and delivered my pizza.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Johnny Thunders

                              Okay, PLEASE keep in mind that I'm from NM, but I've had lots of pizza and NYC and on the east coast, and you're going to make yourself insane looking for the same style here...give it up. That being said, I like Frank and Angie's a lot. It's solid and it taste good. When Southside first opened we were really into it (mainly b/c we got some REALLY rude service at Home Slice and wanted to patronize their competition), but we started getting soggy-bottomed take-out pizzas and stopped going there.

                              About the chile rellenos, NM has my favorites, and the closest I've found here has been at, forgive me, Chuy's. They took the edge off of huge cravings for me in between visits to NM.

                              1. re: shelbyk

                                for CR try Jorge's on Hancock and let me know what you think. I'm from El Paso and this has been a huge quest for me as well.

                                1. re: amysuehere

                                  I've had a good relleno at La Michoacana meat market... I don't know if they make them everyday, but when they do...

                                2. re: shelbyk

                                  I'm also from NM and would agree with amysuehere about Jorge's. And their red and green chile (not chili) is the closest to that found at home--Barelas Coffeeshop, Duran's Pharmacy, etc. in Albuquerque

                              2. I can't believe no one has mentioned East Side Pies.

                                East Side Pies!!! if you need a good pie then go there right now! Thin crispy crusty and great toppings.

                                1. i am a born and bred nyker living here for 4 yrs and i agree most of the pizza here is passable at best.vispaio makes good pizza and i had a good pie at the new chophouse in the domain and i like the deep dish pizza from bj's brewhouse although its not ny styel.reales makes a good sicilian pie.brick oven isnt bad if u like a very thin crust pizza,not sure if the water has something to do with how good east coast pizza is.

                                  1. I love this place! The best pizza I've had in Austin